IMTS In Person, In Print Or Online

The IMTS experience is available to you in any format you prefer: in person, online, or in print.

OK, I confess that I am an IMTS junky. I first attended this show in 1980 and haven’t missed one since. Even my four kids were all born in odd numbered years, demonstrating perhaps a subliminal prioritization on my part. Two years is a perfect interval for the show—any less, it would seem burdensome; any more would be too long.

Every time the show comes around, I get excited about seeing the new technologies being unveiled. I can remember seeing AGVs first exhibited to service FMS. I remember seeing early robots do amazingly dexterous feats. Hexapods’ debut seems like it was yesterday. Watching the power and reliability of electronic controls, drives and computers improve over time has been truly remarkable.

Once known as the “machine tool show,” IMTS has correctly morphed into a manufacturing technology show. Because manufacturing is now so integrated, it is no longer appropriate to think of the machine tool as a stand-alone production resource. It is now a member of a throughput team that includes the CAD/CAM programming and job planning upstream, material handling, cutting tool technology, in-process and post-process monitoring and verification and a myriad of other discrete technologies that together make a process profitable.

At IMTS, all of the parts of the metalworking process puzzle—known and new—are on display. Exhibitors bring out their best and brightest people to make sure any interested party gets the information needed to make an informed determination about the suitability of any given product or service. It’s a bazaar with a purpose: to elevate the collective competitiveness of domestic manufacturing.

Attending the show in person is by far my first recommendation to anyone involved in metalworking manufacturing. Of course, at Production Machining, our focus, and yours, is a niche area of IMTS. While that is true, most every attendee is involved in a niche area of metalworking. Mold and die shops will attend. EDM shops will attend. Metal fabrication shops will attend. Regardless of a shop’s specialty, a personal visit to this exhibition can be a valuable use of time.

To make efficient use of your time at IMTS 2006, check out page 100 of this issue. It describes an online tool called MyMap that helps plot a direct course around this big show to see what you want to see. While attending the show, visit your vendors and suppliers (most of them will be exhibiting), and kick the tires on their newest stuff. However, don’t forget to look around as you ply the aisles. Many of you are looking for new areas of growth for your shops. Technologies that can help with this will be on display.

This issue of Production Machining is a sort of hybrid. Unlike many of the trade magazines, our August issue isn’t solely devoted to IMTS. However, for those of you unable to attend the show and who want to get a quick peak at some of the technologies on display, take a look starting on page 51. We’ve put together a selection of germane products that will be on display at the show. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a good sampling.

Lastly, if the small show we prepared in print whets your appetite, but you can’t get to the show in person, a good alternative is to visit and explore IMTS online. AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, the sponsor of IMTS, has created a comprehensive site at www.IMTS.com for the show. One neat feature is access to exhibitor showrooms where you can get information about the exhibiting companies and link to their Web sites—some of which offer multi-media presentations.

If you do attend IMTS, please stop by PM’s booth B-1001 (look for the black H3 Hummer) in the Emerging Technology Center. As an enticement, you can register to win one of ten video iPods and an electric guitar. You’ll understand the guitar connection when you stop by. Ask for Lori Beckman, Chris Felix or me. We look forward to seeing you.